Carlos Cruz-Diez: “The Euphoria of Colour”
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Galleria Continua in Dubai is hosting “The Euphoria of Colour”, a solo show by Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923-2019), a key figure of Kinetic and Op Art. Cruz-Diez is considered one of the greatest artistic innovators of the 20th century: he is internationally famous for experimenting with light and colour. The show will be open to the public until January 31, 2023.

The exhibition features some of the artist’s iconic art pieces exploring his own colour theory. There is “Labyrinthe de Transchromie A” (1965/2017) on display, an installation that comprises coloured transparent panels and reminds one of a colour labyrinth. The installation modifies the surrounding space and its perception; it lets the viewer see the environment through different eyes with the help of colour combinations, reflections, and different transparency degrees. Cruz-Diez said in 1969 that here the viewer themselves can choose a combination of subtractions from a lot of different standpoints.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Labyrinthe de Transchromie A (1965-2017). Colored glass, wood and steel stainless, 247 x 546 x 454 cm. © Carlos Cruz-Diez / Bridgeman Images 2022. The Euphoria of Colour 2022 (exhibition view), GALLERIA CONTINUA / Dubai. Photo: Musthafa Aboobacker

The show includes Cruz-Diez’ “Physichromie” (“physical color”) series started in 1959. The series focuses on creating the illusion of movement through the manipulation of light and colour and explores how colour affects the viewer physically. For instance, “Physichromie 1843” (2013) is made of thin coloured bands alternating between vertical strips of plexiglass, a material serving as a ‘light-trap’ here. The colour of the surface changes, which depends on where the viewer stands, and the bands seem to move. Cruz-Diez called the Physichromie artworks “structures”, as they are a sort of hybrid of a painting and a sculpture. Like with the latter, the viewer should move along with it to reveal its true colours.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie 1843, 2013. Aluminum Chromography, plastic strips, 39 2/5 × 157 1/2 × 4/5 in | 100 × 400 × 2 cm. The Euphoria of Colour 2022 (exhibition view), GALLERIA CONTINUA / Dubai. Photo: Musthafa Aboobacker

The “Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence Série Brésil 3” (2007) artwork is based on the “post-image” phenomenon. If one stares at a red plane and then looks away, the retina of the eye retains an image of the plane, but it is not red anynore – now it is green. “Post-image” takes place in two phases, however, Cruz-Diez’ artwork reproduces them simultaneously. It stabilizes and makes visible a phenomenon which can only be captured briefly and in special circumstances.

About the artist

Carlos Cruz-Diez (born in 1923, Caracas, Venezuela; died in 2019, Paris, France) was a multidisciplinary artist whose art practice included painting, printing, sculpting, and making installations. In 1945, he graduated from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas, Caracas, where he studied art. Then, Cruz-Diez worked as a graphic designer and illustrator; he also worked in journalism and advertising. In 1960, the artist moved to Paris, where he began to explore Kinetic and Op Art and the theory and practice of colour.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Induction Chromatique à double fréquence série Brésil 3, 2007. Chromography on canvas, 39 2/5 × 39 2/5 × 4/5 in | 100 × 100 × 2 cm. Edition 1/3

The artist’s solo shows include The Weight of Form. The Graphic Design of Carlos Cruz-Diez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2021); Cruz-Diez: El color haciéndose, Museum of Contemporary Art Panamá, Panamá City (2019); La autonomía del color, Galería RGR, Mexico City (2018); and many others. He had his artworks displayed at multiple group shows such as, for instance, A Graphic Revolution: Prints and Drawings in Latin America, The Cleveland Museum of Art (2020); συν χρόνος (SYN KRONOS), Galería RGR, Mexico City (2019); and Concrete Matters, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2018).

Cruz-Diez’s works can be found in museums and public collections worldwide. They include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and others.

To learn more about “The Euphoria of Colour”, please visit the event’s official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting the show “Under Your Eyes” by Ziad Al Najjar.